So, after my Debbie Downer post from a few days ago, I should really share about some of the exciting changes that are happening.
Some time in the spring, Al started to go to therapy less frequently because our insurance only covers 60 units of therapy per year. His therapy group (he goes to Origami in Mason, MI) wanted him to save some of that therapy for when he returned to work so that an occupational therapist specializing in return to work could accompany him. So, we spoke with our PM&R doctor, and she said she would get the ball rolling. That was at the end of April, maybe beginning of May. We heard NOTHING from her or from Origami until almost the end of June. The OT specialist at Origami finally emailed Al and said she had spoken with Lear, Al's employer, and they were all to sit down together on July 13 for a meeting.
We went on vacation on June 24, and we were gone for 2 week, with the plan that Al would attend this meeting when we returned. During our vacation, we got a message from Al's parents, who live in Florida, saying they had consulted some different therapists and doctors, and they wanted to fly him down to have a different set of eyes look at him to see how they could better tweak his rehabilitation. We were planning to return home on July 8; they were poised to reserve a flight for him on July 9! Talk about sudden!
After a short discussion, it really seemed like a good idea to me. I haven't been the best at chronicling Al's day to day recovery, mostly because there hasn't been much, but also because I work during the school year and it's hard to get to blogging! Suffice it to say that, since Al wasn't going to therapy regularly and had not yet returned to work. He was stagnating in a major way, and he was becoming very depressed. I figured that a new environment, new opinions about his health, and basically some time away would do him good.
When he first arrived in Florida, he was complaining about the heat. It made me laugh because his parents have a gorgeous new house with a/c of course and a walk-out lanai that leads right to their pool. What was even funnier is that it was hotter here in Michigan than it was in Florida. His parents live on the gulf, so I'm sure they have their share of humidity, but what I think most people don't realize is that Michigan is extremely humid, too. Lansing is in a basin that used to be primarily swamp land. When you get some heavy humidity, you simply step outside and get drenched.
Anyway, Al has been through many appointments and day-in, day-out home therapy at the hands of his parents. They get him into the pool every day so that he can do some weightless exercises. They put the electrostim sleeve on him every day (which we had taken a break from because it was so tedious and didn't seem to be doing anything), and they are trying different techniques to conquer the tone and spasticity that works so darn hard against his best efforts to move his arm.
He has also been to a podiatrist to fix some problems with his toes that have arisen from wearing a brace all day, every day. He has had his AFO re-built a number of times since the material they usually use isn't strong enough to keep his foot from rolling. He's popped the bolts out several times just by walking. His parents have sought the aid of a therapist who has come to the house to work with him one-on-one. And he has even received acupuncture in his face to help it to re-awaken.
All in all, my hubs has been gone almost 5 weeks, and it will be 6 total when he returns on August 21.
The next step for us once he returns is to find yet another PM&R doctor, since the 2 we've seen haven't been on top of the case as much as we'd like them to be. We will also have to decide about where to continue rehab since he has 30 units left for the year.
It's so hard when you are thrown into something like this, and you don't really know who is going to offer you the best help. And once you find out that a provider isn't pulling his/her weight, you've lost several months of potential treatment or advice.
But I'm grateful for this 6 weeks of intense therapy in Florida. Hopefully it will be a jumpstart to a great new wave of progress!